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From Boston —

Yesterday morning the NEA Council on Higher Ed (NCHE) passed the following resolution. Thanks to Jane Munley, Marc Kornfeld & others, & the officers of NCHE for their work & support. — Steve WHEREAS, Pennsylvania’s students contribute thousands of dollars a year to the state and local economies, and approximately 70 percent of graduates of Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities remain in the state. They provide the workforce that sustains the state economy.

WHEREAS, On March 8, 2011, Gov. Tom Corbett introduced his first state budget proposal, which would cut state funding to Pennsylvania’s community colleges, public colleges and universities, and state-related universities by more than 50%. When combined with the reduction in federal funding, community colleges will see a 10% decrease in funding, the State System of Higher Education’s budget will be reduced by 54%, and state-related universities’ budgets will be decreased 51%. Additionally, the governor’s budget proposal included a 1.9% cut to Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency grants.

WHEREAS, Pennsylvania already has some of the highest tuition rates for public colleges and universities of any state in the country, while state funding rates for higher education are among the lowest in the country. If the final state budget includes the governor’s proposed cuts to higher education, students across Pennsylvania can expect:

• Major increases in tuition and fees

• Larger class sizes

• Fewer course offerings

• Greater student loan debt

• Fewer loan and grant opportunities

• Fewer institutions due to the closing of campuses

WHEREAS, large tuition increases and increasing loan debts will make it even more difficult for these students to continue to afford college and could discourage interested students from applying in the future. Larger class sizes and program cuts will make it difficult for students to obtain a quality education in a timely manner.

Therefore, we resolve to support the students of Pennsylvania and call on members of the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives to reject these cuts to higher education. We urge them to continue to fund at prior levels community colleges, state colleges and universities, and the state-related universities in order to continue to provide a quality education for all of Pennsylvania’s students.